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"The crowning dainties yet behind?
"The first fresh with the faded hues,
"And the outline of the whole,
"As round eve's shades their framework roll,
"Grandly fronts for once thy soul !
"And like the hand which ends a dream,
Ay, then indeed something would happen ! But what? For here her voice changed like a bird's; There grew more of the music and less of the words. Had Jacynth only been by me to clap pen To paper and put you down every syllable With those clever clerkly fingers,
All I've forgotten as well as what lingers
To give you even the poorest version
Of the speech I spoil, as it were, with stammering!
Of prosody into me and syntax,
And did it, not with hobnails but tintacks!
Just, do you mark, when the song was sweetest,
And the charm vanished!
And my sense returned, so strangely banished,
I knew the crone was bewitching my lady,
Down from the casement, round to the portal,—
The Duchess: I stopped as if struck by palsy.
And that I had nothing to do, for the rest,
But wait her commands, obey and be dutiful.
I saw the glory of her eye,
And the brow's height and the breast's expanding,
And I was hers to live or to die.
As for finding what she wanted,
You know God Almighty granted
Such little signs should serve wild creatures
To tell one another all their desires,
So that each knows what his friend requires,
Followed silent and alone;
I spoke to her, but she merely jabbered
Like a blade sent home to its scabbard.
I remember patting while it carried her,
Oneself in such matters, I can't help believing
His saddle on my own nag of Berold's begetting, (Not that I meant to be obtrusive)
She stopped me, while his rug was shifting,
By a single rapid finger's lifting,
And, with a gesture kind but conclusive,
And a little shake of the head, refused me,—
I say, although she never used me,
Yet when she was mounted, the Gipsy behind her, And I ventured to remind her,
suppose with a voice of less steadiness Than usual, for my feeling exceeded me, -Something to the effect that I was in readiness Whenever God should please she needed me,— Then, do you know, her face looked down on me With a look, a look that placed a crown on me, And she felt in her bosom,-mark, her bosom— And, as a flower-tree drops its blossom, Dropped me . . ah, had it been a purse Of silver, my friend, or gold that 's worse, Why, you see, as soon as I found myself So understood,—that a true heart so may gain Such a reward,—I should have gone home again, Kissed Jacynth, and soberly drowned myself! It was a little plait of hair
Such as friends in a convent make
To wear, each for the other's sake,—
This, see, which at my breast I wear,
And ever shall, till the Day of Judgment.
When the liquor 's out why clink the cannikin?
The redoubtable breast of our master the mannikin,
-But it seems such child's play,
What they said and did with the lady away!
It ought to have stopped; there seemed nothing to do
But the world thought otherwise and went on,
And my head 's one that its spite was spent on :
And with them all my head's adorning.
Not suffered to empty its poison-bladder :
But she and her son agreed, I take it,
That no one should touch on the story to wake it,
And when fresh Gipsies have paid us a visit, I 've
But told them they 're folks the Duke don't want here,
And the old one was in the young one's stead,
Of the paint-smutches with which the Duchess Heightened the mellowness of her cheek's yellowness (To get on faster) until at last her
Cheek grew to be one master-plaster
Of mucus and fucus from mere use of ceruse :
In short, she grew from scalp to udder
Just the object to make you shudder.
You 're my friend
What a thing friendship is, world without end!
As if somebody broached you a glorious runlet,
Friendship may match with that monarch of fluids; Each supples a dry brain, fills you its ins-and-outs, Gives your life's hour-glass a shake when the thin sand doubts
Whether to run on or stop short, and guarantees